I’ve just finished shooting a music video with Felix Hagan & The Family. It was my first time duetting with a man; the usual coy cross-talk I’m used to was, in this instance, more of a competition in who could gurn with the most elasticity and variety. I’m not sure who won. We’ll have to wait for the finished edit.
It was a lot of fun. The vibe was a bit like Bowie and Jagger singing “Dancing In The Street” but with a boxing ring instead of a street and punching instead of dancing. Actually, it was nothing like Bowie and Jagger.
I love making music videos. You probably all know that by now (either from the sheer number I’ve made with my own band The Bedlam Six or from articles I’ve written on the subject. Each time I am involved in a video project I feel like Mr Benn as he dons a new outfit and steps through the fancy dress shop’s magic door.
So this time I was a boxer. It was definitely the most physical shoot I’ve worked on. For a start I had to learn how to box (just enough to not look like a complete fool). The training montage section was probably the most exhausting bit. Singing whilst doing chin-ups in time with the rhythm of the track has left my body hating me. And lip-syncing whilst skipping a rope is one of the most difficult music related activities I’ve ever done (right up there with playing bar chords for the first time). That’s a new skill to add to my portfolio anyway.
Felix and I worked each other over pretty well. We were supposed to be pulling our punches but as the shoot wore on it became more vigorous. I feel a bit guilty for his two bloodshot eyes. I hope the continuity people can make sense of them in post-production! Who knew that hitting a fellow human being repeatedly in the face could be so therapeutic? Now I understand why so many people do it on a Saturday night in Manchester town centre. Such larks!
The fact that I’m on this track at all is a bit of an accident. A happy one of course. I was in London for a solo show but had arrived about six hours before my sound check because of a lunch meeting that didn’t go on as long as I thought it would. I met up for a drink with Felix and he said he’d just written a song the night before and did I want to sing on it? I said “why not” and we bashed out a rough version in his little room above Konk Studios in Crouch End. A very basic take with him playing piano and me singing a couple of verses. A month went by without me giving it much thought then suddenly he sends me that very same version complete with drums, bass, guitars and sultry backing vocals. From humble beginnings it has become quite a number.
And then I beat him to a pulp. There’s no business like show business…